This report originates in the growing international engagement in statebuilding and postconflict reconstruction during the past decade. The 2005 Paris declaration of the OECD referred to an emerging international consensus on concepts and approaches to fragile states, many of which apply to post-conflict situations. As part of this development, the World Bank and the UNDP agreed to strengthen their cooperation on statebuilding. A joint workshop on post-conflict statebuilding held in New York in September 2005, attended by reformers from a number of countries and agency officials, identified the principal issues and challenges in post-war transitions. The meeting was also the stimulus for a concerted effort by the Bank and UNDP to work together on a small programme of activities around the theme of statebuilding. In the Bank, this direction was further confirmed by the board of directors' endorsement in January 2006 of peace-building and statebuilding as central goals for the Bank's engagement in fragile states.

The joint Bank/UNDP workshop in New York noted that peace agreements, if well constructed, could serve as a foundational roadmap for statebuilding in the transition period. Poorly designed peace agreements, on the other hand, provide a map with landmines implanted. While the nature of peace agreement have long been studied for their effect on the subsequent conditions of peace or war, less is known about which designs are most appropriate for building functioning and legitimate states. How, the workshop asked, could peace agreements provide a stronger, more comprehensive framework for managing the diverse transitions necessary for statebuilding?

In line with this discussion, the Bank and UNDP decided that peace agreements would constitute one focus of their joint program on statebuilding. The present study was commissioned as a modest start for this undertaking, intended to (i) provide an overview of the relevant literature on peace agreements in relation to state-and peace-building, and (ii) assess to what extent provisions relevant to statebuilding have been included in contemporary peace agreements, as well as the role of international aid agencies in the negotiating process.

The report is organized as follows: Part I starts with the literature review, including both academic work and the policy discussion in the United Nations system. Based on this review, the study uses six categories of provisions that are relevant to statebuilding in a post-conflict setting. These are :

(i) security,
(ii) public administration and governance,
(iii) justice,
(iv) economic recovery and reform,
(v) political representation and accountability, and
(vi) post-conflict integration.

Through a simple mapping exercise, the frequency and degree of specificity of such provisions are examined in a sample of 27 agreements concluded after 1989. In Part II of the study five agreements were selected for more in-depth analysis. In this part, the focus is further narrowed to provisions pertaining to public administration and economic recovery. There were two reasons for this. Most peace agreements in the larger sample address a range of security, political, governance and reintegration issues, but longer-term foundations for sustainable peace such as public administration and economic recovery are inconsistently incorporated. These areas are also of most institutional concern to the Bank and the UNDP. The concluding section discusses the desirability and feasibility of including such provisions in peace agreements, and the role of the international aid agencies in the negotiation process.

It should be noted that the peace agreements considered here all refer to internal wars. Although many conflicts were deeply internationalized and some agreements the result of foreign military intervention, they were formally treated in the UN system as civil wars. The discussion that follows therefore refers to this genus of conflict and not formally declared wars among states.

This is a pilot study with limited scope. Due caution must therefore be exercised when interpreting and generalizing from the findings. The main purpose of the study is to identify issues for further deliberation and policy-research.